Canvasback Life History


Food PlantsSeeds, buds, leaves, tubers, roots, snails, and insect larvae.Back to top


Nest Placement

Nest Floating

Nesting Facts
Clutch Size:5-11 eggs
Egg Description:Greenish drab.
Condition at Hatching:Covered in down and able to leave the nest soon after hatching.
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Behavior Surface DiveBack to top


Conservation Low ConcernCanvasback populations have fluctuated widely. Low levels in the 1980s put the Canvasback on lists of special concern, but numbers increased greatly in the 1990s. Overall, average population size has been steady since the 1950s. The North American Breeding Bird Survey indicates that there may have been a small overall increase between 1966 and 2015. In 2015, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service estimated a U.S. population between 740,000 and 860,000. The species rates an 11 out of 20 on the Continental Concern Score. Canvasback is not on the 2016 State of North America's Birds' Watch List. This species is hunted in most areas where it occurs. Back to top


Lutmerding, J. A. and A. S. Love. Longevity records of North American birds. Version 2015.2. Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, Bird Banding Laboratory 2015.

Mowbray, Thomas B. 2002. Canvasback (Aythya valisineria), version 2.0. In The Birds of North America (P. G. Rodewald, editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York, USA.

Raftovich, R. V., S. C. Chandler and K. A. Wilkins. (2015). Migratory bird hunting activity and harvest during the 2013-14 and 2014-15 hunting seasons. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Laurel, Maryland, USA.

Sauer, J. R., D. K. Niven, J. E. Hines, D. J. Ziolkowski, Jr., K. L. Pardieck, J. E. Fallon, and W. A. Link (2017). The North American Breeding Bird Survey, Results and Analysis 1966–2015. Version 2.07.2017. USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, Laurel, MD, USA.

Sibley, D. A. (2014). The Sibley guide to birds, second edition. Alfred A. Knopf, New York, USA.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 2015. Waterfowl population status, 2015. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior.

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